Magistrate questions stalking charge for father, son
A father and son faced court on Monday over an alleged stalking matter, which allegedly peaked at a local shopping centre.
Kim Buckley Beech, 61 and Jesse James Beech, 20, both had two charges each; one count of unlawful stalking and one count of assault occasioning bodily harm while armed/in company.
The two alleged victims, a man and woman who did not appear in court, claimed they had been "stalked" at the shops.
However, defence solicitor Justin Geldard told the court he has never seen such a "prosecutorial overreach" than charging the two men with a stalking offence.
"In all my years, I have never seen more of an instance of prosecutorial overreach than in this matter," the Defence Lawyer told the court.
The magistrate said he did "agree" it may not have been the right charge.
CCTV footage of the day's events show, after an initial confrontation between the Beech father and son and a man, the alleged victim returned to confront the pair again.
Police Prosecutor Senior Constable Sonia Edwards said the man had "a gutful" of abuse by the Beeches towards his wife.
"There was this yelling, and calling her horrible woman, (that she had) a horrible body ... he's gone back to confront them and, any normal, reasonable person would be upset," she said.
The magistrate concluded footage appeared to show Mr Beech, 61, as "merely present" during the incident and continued to disagree with the stalking charge.
"Looking at the matters overall ... younger Mr Beech was the main perpetrator and, it appears that senior Mr Beech ... it's a question of whether he was merely present or whether he was a party ... After looking at all of the material, I have some serious reservations (about the stalking charge)," he said.
Mr Geldard said the aggrieved couple had "more holes in their statements than Swiss cheese".
More video footage, provided by a family member of the accused, showed the aggrieved "aggressively reacting to his own wife".
"(It shows the aggrieved) aggressively reacting to his own wife, swearing at her, throwing her off because of his agitated state," Mr Geldard told the court.
"That's not a person who's fearful, that's not a person who in any way is threatened."
The magistrate said the charge of stalking should be demoted to "a simple offence" with the police prosecutor agreeing, saying it "could be a public nuisance offence" instead.
"I think the matter should be case-conferenced because, respectfully, the charges should be reviewed," Mr Geldard added.
The matter was adjourned to April 22, 2021, with both men to remain in custody, over multiple unrelated matters.